U.N. Peacekeepers and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: An End to Impunity

Abstract

It is indeed ironic that the United Nations (U.N.), which has been instrumental in setting norms in the area of gender equality, now stands accused of egregious acts of sexual abuse and exploitation committed by U.N. peacekeepers and civilian personnel. After a decade of virtual inaction, the United Nations has taken some preliminary measures to address the problem following the disclosure of such abuse. However, farreaching changes in peacekeeping operations and contractual obligations of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) must be implemented in order to deal with this serious issue and to change the culture of dismissiveness pervading peacekeeping operations. Numerous proposals for reform have been urged by NGOs (non-government organizations) and Member States and are included in a report by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Prince Zeid), A Comprehensive Strategy to Eliminate Future Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Zeid Report), that was prepared at the request of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Zeid Report was endorsed by the Security Council and the General Assembly, and it has both formed the basis for action by those bodies and been a catalyst for some of the reforms already implemented. This Article analyzes and assesses the proposed reforms and implementation and discusses the additional action that must be taken by Member States and the U.N. in order to eliminate sexual abuse and exploitation in peacekeeping missions.

Keywords

Sex crimes, United Nations -- Peacekeeping forces, Liability indemnity, Sexual abuse, Sexual exploitation, International

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Authors

Elizabeth F. Defeis (Seton Hall University School of Law)

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